Emily Roll

1998: The Annual Egg Drop at Burns Park Elementary was a challenge where the students threw eggs down from the top floor of the building that had secret rooms. We wrapped our eggs in bubble wrap and foam, taped with electrical pinks and blacks, cardboard formed sides to prevent breakage. Your egg couldn’t crack or else you lost. Sometimes the rooms had caramels with those little white swirls in the middle, wrapped in clear plastic.

2012: Rachel lived in the hidden valley apartment complex by the mall. I sat on the couch with my shoes off and an Oberon in my hand. Her VHS tapes were lined up in a shelf underneath her TV. Her blinds were long rectangles; half opened half closed. Those years we saw Batman with our families some nights in the theaters and hung out with people we were seeing on other nights. I forget that I’d already been to college. We slept in the same bed while she had Shabbat candles burning in the window. I slept with a slower heart rate with her there. In the morning I woke up to a text from someone that said, “Hey bb! Sorry I never responded, forgot my phone at home. Xx” Good. At least he doesn’t hate me, I thought. The whole reason I went to Rachel's house was because I couldn't regulate my heart rate or breath, but there was no language for that back then. Coughing up the half beat to stay on the ground. Sometimes I wonder if this is why she decided to stop talking to me. Maybe the last straw was the person I dated in the summer of 2012, who asked me to pick him up from Lansing after ignoring me for days. Which, I happily did at the time. She may have decided she wanted to leave this lifestyle behind and become a more complete and more serious person. Presently, I see pictures of her and her sisters on the beach with their babies. She always did that, even before babies.

2015: The depanneur across from the apartment on Tupper Street was part souvenir shop and part corner store. Cheap yellow wine and flags. I forgot cigarettes existed, I think I would purchase a vitamin water or Gatorade every time I went in. The yellow ones.

2015: In Montreal there was a man in front of the pharmacy on Saint Catherine every day. With a recorder, he would speak loudly. To the people. Seething yellow christ biblical rains flashing rain earth fire drowning spirit speed. That’s the only way I can describe what he said. His hair looked like it had been electrified.

Summer of 2016 : was painstakingly lonely. It was so social. One day that summer my manager accidentally and methodically cut up my debit card and I went to Kroger to get something. I didn’t know what, just something. It’s not that I don’t remember what I went to get, I just truly went with no intent besides to come out with something. That something was white wine. It said 8.99 but when I went to pay it was 15. I was like “I thought it was 8.99” and the cashier told me that was only with a Kroger plus card. I didn’t have it in me to stay composed so I frustratedly paid, grabbed the bottle by the neck and got into my car in the westgate mall parking lot and cried. I was going to DC tomorrow but that didn’t actually bother me. What a false summer. It’s not anyone’s fault. I broke down and decided I wanted to make a connection so I called you and needed to close my throat to dam the salt water. I knew you were slipping away but I wanted you to stay for longer. I was so close to just grabbing your hand. That summer it was 45 minutes with you tops. I wish you would have slept over. I wish I would have asked. I slept alone in the dark that night after going to the gym at some point that day. I slept drunk. The next day I flew to Washington DC and sat next to a chatty, wealthy man who had a house in Ann Arbor and a house in DC. I was worried he judged me for getting a bloody mary on the hour and a half flight. “Just water, thanks.” Which is now what I say or I get the bloody mary mix without vodka.

Performance artist Emily Roll got their start as a theater actor and later branched out into more experimental original work. Beginning in 2012, they launched their "Haunted" moniker as a vehicle to explore anxiety, vulnerability, and transparency. These pieces are realized in combinations of written, vocal, physical or verbal forms. In addition to written and performed original work, Emily has worked with theater companies such as A Host of People, The New Theatre Project, and Brendalinda Performance Collaborative while living in Michigan. They also play music and sing in the band XV. Emily received their Masters in Drama Therapy in Montreal, QC and is currently working on a second Masters in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.